Complete with a half page photo of the event, the front page of Saturday’s issue of the Tri-County Herald read:
Chief Sam Fitch, DI Ben Perrini and four Deer Park Police officers responded when an unruly crowd rushed out of a well-known bar in Clayton, Washington. At the center of the public disturbance was a vocally Anti-Catholic Montana-born half Irish Native American by the name of Michael O’Brien and Riago Restorini, an Italian-born naturalized American Roman Catholic brick yard worker and local artist want-to-be. The former was a veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and the latter avoided service in the military during the Korean conflict or the Cold War due to flat feet and acute bronchitis. The rant and ruckus revolved around, developed and eventually was directed at anyone and everyone who supported the current administration.
Restorini had demanded an apology and recant from O’Brien for what he had said about the black robed Roman Catholic priests of the mission in St. Ignatius, Montana. According to a number of first person witnesses at the bar, O’Brien had loudly proclaimed that the priests had not only had ongoing sexual relations with the Nuns of the order of Our Lady of Perpetual Redemption, but also buggered and beaten small Native American children regularly. According to Restorini’s argument and testimony, O’Brien had “blasphemed” Roman Catholicism.
Taking control of a bad situation, the authorities demanded that the crowd go home or anywhere away from the bar. As the disgruntled crowd disbursed the two subdued combatants went to their own vehicles, still muttering their disagreement and making threatening gestures at each other.
Getting into a Humvee, O’Brien drove away from the mob looking for a place to crash for what was left of the night. The old guy sitting next to him at the bar had mentioned a motel in Loon Lake. He had said it was just up the road a piece. When O’Brien got there the no vacancy sign was blinking red.
Out of the motel entrance and an obligatory u-turn put him south bound retracing his way back to Clayton. At the city limits, he slowed down so as to not attract the law. The crowd had left except for a battered old red Chevy pickup. Stopping out of curiosity he recognized the guy asleep at the wheel. Alcohol had apparently taken the measure of the strong opinioned Italian immigrant. O’Brien’s argumentative adversary had fallen asleep in his pickup.
On the five mile straight stretch towards Deer Park, O’Brien’s beer drinking hadn’t completely left his system. He was quickly fading and in need of sleep. By the time he had left the highway on East Crawford he had resigned himself to sleeping in the Humvee until daylight. His slow careful search for a place to park ended at the Sports Complex parking lot across from the High School.
Head lights off, ignition key under the floor mat, street lights were still on and dawn was a couple of hours away.